Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Walking to raise awareness

On Saturday, September 23, at 9:30 am, Psychology Club proudly represented Augustana College at the NAMI walk at Modern Woodmen Park in Davenport, IA. NAMI stands for National Alliance on Mental Illness and this walk is one NAMI’s largest and most successful.
Professor Corts, a professor of Psychology at Augustana and the advisor for the Psychology Club, reported that Augustana College’s “Psychology Club members have been participating in NAMI walks for the past 10 years or so. Obviously, the typical college student is not going to be able to contribute much in the way of money, but our team, along with very large groups from St. Ambrose and Western Illinois University really contribute to the size of the walk.”
The Psychology Club became involved with the NAMI walks because as Professor Corts pointed out “the majority of Psychology majors have an interest in mental health fields or fields which provide services to individuals facing other challenges.”
Livy Zienty, an Augustana senior and the vice president of the Psychology Club got involved with the NAMI walk through Psychology Club. This year was her first time participating, but she has been interested since her freshman year of college.
Zienty was encouraged to get involved with NAMI because “I [know] firsthand what it is like to struggle with a mental illness, and have struggled myself. So, the NAMI organization and this walk are very special to me. Seeing all the good this organization does, I really wanted to be a part of it in some way.”
Christina Scott, an Augustana senior and another member of Psychology Club, also got involved with NAMI through the club.  This year will be Scott’s first year participating and she says NAMI walks is important because “I don’t think that people realize that mental health is everywhere and affects more people than we think. 1 in 5 Americans suffer from mental illness, and only 1/3 of [them] receive proper treatment.”
Dr. Corts pointed out that “College students also have higher rates of psychological problems including mental illness such as depression, but they also face a collection of stressors that come with the academic workload, the pace of co-curricular activities and work, significant changes in lifestyle and living arrangements, etc.”
Dr. Corts explained that while students do have counseling services available to them on their campus, many do not know about the services or their effectiveness. There are some students who are unaware that may be able to be treated even if what they are struggling with is not considered mental illness.
Zienty shared a similar view to that of Dr. Corts and said that many people are unaware of how many individuals truly struggle with mental illness and how to help those who are—or how to help yourself.  Every person in this world has been impacted by mental illness in some way but there is a horrible stigma surrounding mental illness and awareness is key to break down those barriers. This is where increasing awareness with organizations like NAMI can be so important.

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Walking to raise awareness